Dec 15, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Wild Cards Who Might Disrupt First Round

Typically there is always a collection of teams in a draft that buck needs for talent.  With the 2014 NFL draft shaping up, who might fill that role?

Chicago Bears

Defense.  Defense.  Defense.  That is all anybody can talk about with the Chicago Bears and it’s not surprising.  Improving a unit that ranked 30th overall in the league in 2013 has to be a top priority in the draft.  However, there are some factors in play to remember.  Chicago is not under the iron grip of Lovie Smith anymore.  This is an offensively-driven team under Marc Trestman with a freshly signed franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler.  Needy as the defense may be, people should not simply dismiss the idea that the Bears might go after a premier offensive talent early if the situation presents itself.

Cincinnati Bengals

Up until wild card weekend, the needs of the Cincinnati Bengals were fairly clear.  Then Andy Dalton happened.  For the third year in a row the quarterback failed to elevate his game to meet the playoff atmosphere.  He turned the ball over three time and managed just ten point, never showing enough urgency to get his offense going.  Question have hung in the air about how far he can possibly take the Bengals given his limited physical capabilities.  Perhaps instead the time has come to question the mental side of his game.  Is he strong enough in the mind to handle playoff pressure?  With three clear examples saying nay, the Bengals could very well go after some competition in the first round.

St. Louis Rams

Everybody is so convinced Sam Bradford is safe and maybe he is but the reality is the quarterback is making a lot of money from the St. Louis Rams who haven’t gotten a good enough return for it.  Aside from inconsistent play, Bradford added durability to his growing list of issues.  There is no doubting his arm talent but with two picks in the top 13 selections, the Rams must seriously consider this gold opportunity to end the experiment before it goes any further.  At present there is little chance of that happening, but things could become very interesting if minds begin to change as the 2014 NFL draft draws closer.

Washington Redskins

They had the sound of a team very desperate to find a way into the first round of the draft, what with St. Louis holding the rights to their pick courtesy of the Robert Griffin III trade in 2012.  Indeed the speculation of trading Kirk Cousins might lend some help to that endeavor simply because the Redskins can’t afford to keep missing out on the first round and hope to bolster their roster enough to get back to the playoffs.  They hold the second pick in the second round, which offers a good chance to move up but it will depend on what they can offer in a trade deal.  Is Cousins the only option?  Stay tuned.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Lovie Smith isn’t only the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers according to his contract.  Apparently he also has final say on players who will join the roster as well, which really alters the landscape of the 2014 draft.  One thing to remember is Buccaneers badly need a pass rusher.  Smith has shown in the past he is willing to do what it takes to get a player he wants.  Bears fans might remember he visited Julius Peppers at his house in North Carolina in 2010 free agency.  That could mean he would not be above engineering a trade to move up and get South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who reminds many of Peppers.

Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals St. Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers Washington Redskins

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